The East won the toss and elected to defer its decision to the second half. The West coaches went to the tricks early with Gerald Jones (Tennessee) running taking a fumblerooskie around left end for a long gain on the first play. Notre Dame commitment Jimmy Clausen, the younger brother of Casey and Rick, threw a strike over the middle to Ron Brooks down to the East 33.
The East defense held its own for three plays, but the West was bailed on fourth and 14 on a pass interference call on Marcus Gilchrist (Clemson) for a new set of downs. McKnight took a swing pass from Clausen, made linebacker Lorenzo Edwards miss and was eventually brought down at the 15-yard line. Clausen threw a fade on the next play to Terrance Toliver, who made the catch but couldn't drag a foot with Eric Berry (Tennessee) in coverage. On third down all-everything defensive tackle Marvin Austin jumped early, giving the West another first down.
Edwards made up for his earlier missed tackle with back-to-back stops and Justin Trattou (Notre Dame) knocked down another swing pass to McKnight to force a 22-yard field goal from David Green (Stanford). Green made good and the West claimed a 3-0 advantage out of the gates.
The East started its first possession with a pair of runs for five yards. On third down Everson Griffen showed why many scouts think he is the top prospect in the game. At 6-4, 265 he went around four-star offensive tackle Chris Little, who committed to Florida State during the first half, and slung Matt Simms (Louisville) to the Alamodome turf. Simms is the younger brother of Chris, who played at Texas and is currently with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the son of Phil Simms.
The West got the ball back in good field position and went to the air again, this time with Mallett under center. Mallett threw a BB to Ahmad Page for 25 yards and then found Niles Paul (Nebraska) for 17. After a pair of fine defensive plays by Major Wright and Gary Gray (Notre Dame) in coverage, the left-footed Green was called on for a 27-yard attempt and was good again.
Chris Rainey (Florida) returned the kickoff to the 26-yard line where the East coaches dipped into their bag of tricks. Curtis Brown (Texas) wasn't fooled and broke up what was supposed to be a reverse pass from Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech). Lineman Luther Davis sacked Willie Korn (Clemson) for a one-yard loss and Gallipo wrapped up Robert Hughes on a screen for a three-and-out.
Stefoin Francois muffed the punt, but was able to recover and the West started from its own 39 with a 6-0 lead. With Clausen in again at quarterback for the West, he found Brooks on a seam route to the East 43-yard line. McKnight then slashed his way through the middle of the East front for nine yards. However, to start the second quarter Nick Fanuzzi (Miami) threw deep on an all-streaks play and Eugene Clifford (Ohio State) made a great play on the ball to leap high and come down with an interception thrown into the end zone intended for Jones.
The athletic Taylor then lined up at QB for the East and the West squad was able to get the ball back two plays later. Brown was sitting on a curl route thrown to Greg Little (Notre Dame), picked it off in stride and raced down the sideline before fumbling out of bounds at the six-yard line.
Mallett entered the game at quarterback and threw into the end zone on first down. However, Austin was able to pressure him up the middle and make him thrown early and incomplete. Gray and Berry stuffed Mallett on an option keeper at the two-yard line, but McKnight found the end zone behind Tray Allen (Texas) and Po'u Palilei on third to give the West a 13-0 advantage.
McKnight, an uncommitted tailback from John Curtis High School in Louisiana, was one of the quicker players on the field on Saturday.
Rainey fumbled the ensuing kickoff but Arrelious Benn (Illinois) was able to scoop it and run it out past the 30-yard line. John Brantley entered the game at quarterback for the East, but similar results would follow with another three-and-out. Gallipo made the stop on first down with Broderick Green running up the middle, and he also had the third down stop on a receiver screen.
The East defense appeared to have a three and out after a dropped post pass on third and one by tight end Ian Harris (Missouri) on a nice throw from Fanuzzi, but the entire East punt return team jumped offsides on fourth giving the West a new set of downs. Fanuzzi hit Toliver on a couple of out routes and also ran behind center Kris O'Dowd (USC) for a pair of good gains on quarterback sneaks to keep the drive alive. With the West offense down to the 20-yard line, Fanuzzi threw in the direction of Gary Gray three straight times, which wasn't a good idea. Gray jumped over John Chiles (Texas) on second down to break up a pass and laid out to nearly get a pick on third.
Green then hit his third field goal of the game, a bowl record, this time from 37 yards to make the score 16-0 just before halftime.
On the East's second play of the new drive there was a QB/center exchange problem between Sean Mara and Ryan Pugh (Auburn) and Griffen came out of the pile with the ball. Clausen entered the game for the final two plays of the half, but Clifford came down with his second pick in the end zone as time expired.
The first major bonehead play of the game came on the second half kickoff. Rainey fielded it nine yards deep in the end zone, decided to run it out anyway and made it to the three. Five-star scatback Noel Devine broke a pair of tackles to avoid a safety but only made it to the line of scrimmage before being slung down by Francois. Simms rolled out on the next play and was able to find tight end Aaron Hernandez (Florida) after a jarring block from Pugh, but Hernandez dropped the pass. The next play Simms found Duval Kamara (Notre Dame) on a square in for a first down. On a third and three on the next set of downs Hernandez dropped his third pass of the game to end the East drive.
Clausen was the QB for the next West series, which lasted only three plays. Austin pressured Clausen into dumping off a pass to McKnight, who ran about 50 yards East and West only to be forced out by Edwards for a loss of seven. Green then showed his cannon of a leg with a high punt that pinned the East at its own nine-yard.
Simms and the East offense had something good going with a 2nd and one after Benn hauled in a drag route for nine yards. However, Rainey found out the same way as McKnight that there was too much speed on the field to dance your way for yardage, and lost three. On third and four Simms was flushed out of the pocket and threw deep for Benn. Donovan Warren got away with defensive pass interference and the East was forced to punt.
Williams fielded the punt near midfield and pinballed his way to the East 28-yard line. John Clay rushed off left tackle for five yards and was pulled down off right tackle after one yard by Torey Davis (Florida). On third and four Mallett did a play-action rollout and zipped it to Ball, who had beaten Wright in man coverage down to the seven. On first and goal Davis and Ben Martin got into the backfield and forced Mallett into throwing on the run, but the 6-6, 220-pound QB threw a dart between defenders to Toliver for the TD. Mallet lined up as the holder on the extra point, took the snap and lofted one to a wide open Marshall Jones (USC) for the two-point conversion and 24-0 lead.
Devine fielded the kickoff a yard deep near the corner of the end zone and showed his Reggie Bush-like ability to cut and still be in a sprint. He raced from the left sideline to the right through the coverage and broke tackles from Warren and Tyler Nielson (Iowa) at the West 25-yard line before finally being tripped up by Francois at the 13. But once again the East couldn't get anything going on offense. Korn was dragged down for a five yard loss on third and three and Deonte Thompson was put to the turf by Jones short of the marker on fourth.
On first down for the West, Clay took a shotgun run off right tackle for six yards behind Josh Oglesby (Wisconsin) and Michael Huey (Texas). After a false start and an underthrow by Fanuzzi, Martez Wilson finally got some pressure on the QB for the East and a Fanuzzi pass fluttered out of bounds. Green then punted out of bounds to his own 36-yard line.
With John Brantley (Texas) at QB midway through the fourth quarter, the East moved to the 16 after a pass interference call. With nobody open for Brantley on the subsequent play, Nielson came free off the line to get the sack. Brian Price (UCLA) put Brantley on his back on an incomplete screen pass on second down and a third down pass also fell to the turf. On fourth and 15 he threw to Thompson on a fade but Warren was there to knock it down and end another East scoring threat.
Clay and McKnight then ran up the middle for a combined four yards and the East defense had a chance to get off the field, but McKnight survived a hard hit from Berry to gain just enough yardage for the first down and keep the clock rolling. With just over three minutes left Clausen had trouble handing the snap and Trattou pounced on it at the 31-yard line for the East.
Mara went deep on first down with a fade to Kumara, who had Brown beaten in the end zone, but the pass was just out of reach. After a short completion on second, Korn then lined up in shotgun on third down and lofted a pass to his left into end zone for Greg Little, who pulled it down over Warren to avoid the goose egg with 2:13 showing on the game clock. The extra point made the score 24-7.
Harris recovered the onside kick for the West squad, which took over at the East 42. Page beat Gilchrist on a deep post and Mallett, who had a great day throwing the ball, found him for a 25-yard gain. The West then ran two plays up the middle to run out the clock.
West--52 plays for 256 yards
East--34 plays for 57 yards
Net Yards rushing
West--15-29-2, 168 yards, 1 TD
East--10-20-1, 48 yards, 1 TD